October 19, 2020
people in hazmat suits cleaning an office

From the Field: The Latest Trends in Decontamination Response

Since January, US Ecology crews have performed several thousand decontamination responses across the country in the fight against COVID-19. We’ve been on the battlefield in every hot spot across the country, experienced a variety of scenarios and worked diligently to address the concerns and stress of our customers as they face unprecedented challenges.

Rising to the Challenge Across the Country. During the height of the outbreak in the northeast, US Ecology established a regional COVID-19 response headquarters and conducted an average of six responses a day for two months. Customers were routed through our Global Response Operations Center (GROC) and quickly serviced by our 24/7 response teams based in locations throughout New York and New England.   

In the spring when cases surged in the Pacific Northwest, one county contracted with US Ecology to perform frequent cleanings of temporary field hospitals set up to provide care to the overflow of non-ambulatory patients from local hospitals that had exceeded capacity. Crews performed decontamination of these sites every two hours for several weeks until the hospitals were able to manage the number of patients as case rates stabilized.

Other parts of the country continued to struggle with high case rates throughout the summer, and US Ecology crews continued to respond to the challenge. In Texas, government agencies faced increasing concerns for elderly and other at-risk populations residing in nursing homes and care facilities as cases spiked across the state. Experience working in sensitive and complex environments, dedicated personnel that demonstrate professionalism and care, and assurance that the individual needs of each facility would be met are all reasons why US Ecology was selected for this critical project.

For every facility with reported cases and exposure risk, we provided 24/7 rapid decontamination response, assisted with patient/resident care and ensured minimal disruption by performing a phased approach and safe chemicals that allowed individuals to return to their rooms shortly after decontamination was complete. US Ecology response teams worked around the clock, self-performing decontamination at 122 facilities, 72 in the month of July alone. During this time, crews completed an average of 3.5 sites a day, the most being seven facilities within a 24-hour window.    

The Latest Trend Nationwide. While the need for rapid response to confirmed cases/exposure will continue, it’s anticipated that the frequency of these requests will generally remain steady. Now in the fourth quarter of this historic year, we’re seeing another shift in customer needs. Whereas earlier in the year when mandatory shut downs were lifted and customers looked for one time deep cleaning services before employees returned to the workplace, over the past few weeks there’s been increased demand for programmatic and routine service, as customers aim to establish systems to ensure safety and operational continuity in the new world.

We’ve seen a trend with some national customers requesting a more programmatic approach, contracting US Ecology as their exclusive partner for decontamination services at numerous locations within a service territory, region or nationwide. These customers, which include major pharmacy chains and logistics companies, have already realized the benefit of establishing a service plan not only for the provision of rapid 24/7 response in the event of exposure, but also as a way of being proactive by implementing preventative measures in effort to minimize the potential for exposure and spread of the contagion.

In April, US Ecology developed a solution to support our customers’ growing needs for a professional partnership that offers guidance and customizable service plans to navigate the pandemic. The COVID-19 Safe Operations Program offers:

people in hazmat suits cleaning
  • Service from an industry leader with over 30 years of experience in similar biohazard related decontaminations
  • Customized solutions to effectively serve all customers, no matter scope, complexity or number of facility locations
  • Preemptive cleaning through a single-stage decontamination process; scheduled upon request or ongoing cleanings
  • Convenience and efficiencies working with a single point of contact through one vendor for all your needs
  • Pricing transparency and predictability– savings from volume discounts and additional benefits available
  • Peace of mind by protecting the health and safety of your workforce and the public

To enlist US Ecology's COVID-19 Safe Operations Program for customized decontamination, preventative cleaning and disposal services, please call the 24/7 Emergency Response hotline at (800) 899-4672, contact your sales representative or click here to learn more about our COVID-19 services.